Heredity and Hormones

Topics: Endocrine system, Psychology, Pancreas Pages: 3 (1015 words) Published: August 17, 2008
Heredity and Hormones

The endocrine system plays a key important role in assisting to coordinate and integrate complex psychological reactions. The nervous system and endocrine system work together in a constant chemical conversation.

The endocrine gland releases a chemical substance called a hormone. Hormones are carried throughout the body through the bloodstream. Hormones are similar to neurotransmitters. They carry messages. The difference between nervous and endocrine systems is the speed at which they travel. Because endocrine travels through the bloodstream it is a slower process. Hormones can take from seconds to minutes to reach their goal.

Hormones are of much interest to psychologists for a couple of reasons. One is that at certain developmental stages, hormones organize the nervous system and body tissues. When reaching puberty, hormonal surges trigger the making of secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts in females, a deeper voice in males, and pubic and underarm hair in both sexes.

Hormones activate behaviors like alertness, sleep, sexual behavior, concentration, aggression, stress reactions & companionship needs. Hormones also have effects on mood, emotional reactivity, and learning ability. Depression is a psychological disorder that hormones may also contribute to.

There are several glands in the endocrine system. Each gland has a function and an impact on behavior and mental process. The thyroid gland, which is located below the larynx produces thyroxin which regulates the body’s rate of metabolism, energy and weight control. Having an overactive thyroid can produce such symptoms as insomnia, fatigue, reduced concentration, and agitation. Too little thyroxin could result in the need to constantly sleep, or constantly feeling tired. Parathyroids which are tiny organs that control and balance the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body are responsible for levels of excitability. The pineal gland which is...

References: Morris, C.G. (2005). Psychology: An Introduction, The Biological Basis of Behavior Pearson Education, Inc. Twelfth edition, 76-87. Prentice-Hall
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